Newport Dealeys 2013 Reunion Review
annual reunion was held at the newly renovated Holiday Inn, downtown New London, and was again
rated as one of our best. On Thursday arriving shipmates and guest quickly renewed old acquaintances in the hospitality room
with drinks and snacks. Reunion Chairman, Chief Richard Legg began our welcome reception with the Pledge of Allegiance, the
reunion itinerary and the announcement of the reunion host ship the USS Joseph K. Taussig. Thursday evening, following an
in house pizza and chicken wings party, Master at Arms Tony Zeoli, USS Lester, hosted the family feud game between the USS
Lester and the USS John Willis where embarrassing questions were asked, provoking comical comments from the panel and audience
resulting in many laughs. The Lester came out on top.
The Friday tour took us
to the Mystic Sea Port museum on the shores
of the Mystic River to experience maritime heritage, the coastal life and the ship building craftsmanship in 19th century
New England. The Charles Morgan, the last wooden
whaler was under overhaul and many shipmates toured through the ship observing craftsmen at work. Upon arrival at the hotel,
our business meeting activities included shipmates selecting Boston as the location for the 2014 reunion and Cincinnati Ohio for our 2015 reunion. After the Friday
evening buffet dinner, LCDR Ray Hammock gave us an update on the health of Mrs. Willis (widow of John Harlan Willis and the
name sake of the USS John Willis). Marc Arsenault then provided a projected pictorial presentation of Mrs. Willis’s
past attendances from the year 2000 at our Lake George reunion. The main event consisted of Chairman Legg inviting shipmates to come to the podium and share some of their
navy experiences with us. Bruce Whitney, USS Joseph K Taussig, kept us laughing as he reminisced his first days as a young
inexperienced seaman aboard the USS JK Taussig. Capt. Bill Crawford, former XO of the USS Lester accompanied by his daughter
Sue Sullivan, entertained us with the Lester fight song that he wrote back in 1961. Admiral Roy Hoffmann, gave us a personal
account of the USS Cromwell’s activities along the coast of Cuba during the Cuban crisis.
Our Saturday morning tour schedule first took us to the USS Nautilus and the Submarine Force Museum located at the entrance of the US
Navy Submarine Base Groton. Then it was off for a ride on the Essex Steam Train and a narrated river boat cruise with a box
lunch on the Connecticut River. Our Saturday evening
activities commenced with the posting of the Colors by our guests, the US Naval Sea Cadets, Dealey Division of Stamford Ct.
and accompanied by shipmates of the Joseph K Taussig. The national anthem, pledge of allegiance, remembrance table and grace
by our Newport Dealeys chaplain Jerry Skorch completed our pre-dinner traditions. The post dinner activities included a tribute
honoring Admiral Joseph K Taussig Jr. read by Duane Stum. LT Joe Latwin of the Sea Cadets addressed the audience by enlightening
us of the Sea Cadets training program and their associated duties. On behalf of the Newport Dealeys, Chairman Richard Legg
presented LT Latwin a framed large Newport Dealeys insignia patch as a thank you gift for their participation. The formal
activities ended with the retirement of the Colors. The attendance raffle grand prize, the porthole clock went to Ray Hammock.
For the shipmates who still had energy, the evening continued with music and dancing.
Chaplain Jerry Skorch again assisted by the shipmates of the USS Joseph
K Taussig, conducted the Sunday morning memorial service. Following several emotional prayers, the Newport Dealeys ship’s
bell rang twice for each shipmate that passed on during the past year. Hugs and hand shakes followed as shipmates and guests
departed looking forward to next year’s reunion in the Boston Area.
Michael Upchurch MM2 of
the USS Van Voorhis, with the assistance of the reunion committee, has volunteered to assume the chairmanship for our 2014
reunion in Boston MA.
To view reunion photos go to the 2013 Reunion button on the side bar
USS Lester / USS Hartley